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Rohit Sharma's absence will be a blessing in disguise for a few Indian players

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
367   //    31 Dec 2018, 20:46 IST

Hardik Pandya will be a contender for the spot Rohit left
Hardik Pandya will be a contender for the spot Rohit left

Rohit Sharma is set to miss the fourth Test match against Australia in Sydney as he will be travelling to Mumbai for the birth of his first child. Rohit Sharma's wife Ritika Sajdeh gave birth to a baby girl yesterday and the Mumbai Indians captain is flying down from Australia to be by her side.

BCCI, however, has not named any replacement for Rohit for the final Test beginning on January 3. Now that he is not available, the Indian think-tank has some selection headaches ahead of the fourth Test. India have retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy and are leading the series 2-1. Virat Kohli, in the post-match conference, has made it clear that they will definitely look to win the fourth Test and wrap up the series. Let us look at the possible players who can fit into Rohit's position.

Traditionally, the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) has favoured spinners quite a bit, so Kohli can bring in Ravi Ashwin if he is match fit. The Australian batting is packed with left-handers (Harris, Khawaja, Marsh, Head, Starc). Australia has also added leg-spinning all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne to their squad which means the pitch might have something in it for the spinners.

Ravi Ashwin is an experienced campaigner, has knowledge of the playing conditions and can contribute with the bat too. He performed well in the first Test but was then ruled out of the remaining two Tests as he picked up a groin injury.

Ravi Ashwin was impressive in the first match
Ravi Ashwin was impressive in the first match

The next player for whom Rohit's absence may be a blessing in disguise is Kuldeep Yadav. The left arm chinaman provides an X-factor which most spinners don't. The SCG will be the perfect wicket for Kuldeep to unleash his googlies. Australian batsmen will definitely find it difficult to pick him as he hasn't played in this series so far and he as a variety of deliveries to choose from.

He is a very underrated batsman too. Just a trick Virat could keep at the back of his mind as he along with Jadeja or Ashwin can be lethal if the pitch aids spin bowling.

Kuldeep can be lethal if conditions favour him
Kuldeep can be lethal if conditions favour him

Perhaps the perfect replacement for Rohit is his Mumbai Indians teammate Hardik Pandya. Hardik filled India's longtime lookout for an allrounder with grace. Known to break partnerships and a counter-attacking batsman, Pandya was ruled out of the T20 series as well as the first two Tests matches.

Flown in after a good outing in the Ranji Trophy, Pandya may make it to the playing XI as he provides balance both with the bat as well as the ball. When Pandya is in flow, just a single session is enough to turn the fortunes. Pandya was impressive in the recently finished England tour as well.

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